What is I-BEST?
The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has developed the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) initiative to help underserved populations achieve a livable wage. Basic skills (Adult Basic Education/General Equivalency Diploma/English Second Language) students entering academic and professional programs are at a disadvantage. Not only do they lack certain academic skills, but they have often been sheltered in the basic skills classroom, where instruction is paced to the students’ needs rather than to curriculum goals. These students often go into the professional-technical classroom with less vocabulary, struggle to follow lectures, lack familiarity with U.S. academic culture, and often feel isolated from their peers.
How does I-BEST work?
The first step (after a program is selected) is collaboration between the technical and English basic skills instructors to work on curricula that integrates basic skills competencies with those of the technical program. In order for the program to qualify as an I-BEST, there must be 1.75 FTE, the state requires a 50% overlap in instructional time. This means that both content and basic skills instructors must be present in the classroom for at least half of the total time of instruction. At other times the content instructor or the basic skills instructor would be teaching solo.
I-BEST In Agriculture And Natural Resource Programs?
There are currently four approved agriculture and natural resource I-BEST programs: